By Craig Zammit
SYDNEY: Microsoft Australia has announced the release date and recommended retail price of the long-awaiting addition to the Xbox 360 family, the Xbox 360 Elite console.
The new upgraded version of the Xbox 360 will arrive in-stores on 30 August for a recommended retail price of $729.95.
The all black Xbox 360 Elite video game and entertainment system will include a 120GB hard drive (100GB larger than previously available), a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a HDMI cable, a black wireless controller and an Xbox Live headset.
“Xbox 360 Elite has been designed with a high-end enthusiast audience in mind. With HDMI support and a much larger storage capacity for games, the Xbox 360 Elite helps to satisfy our customers’ growing appetite for premium gaming and entertainment experiences,” said Xbox Australia product marketing manager, Jeremy Hinton.
The Xbox 360 Elite console has enough space for a library of Xbox Live arcade games and thousands of songs, hundreds of hours of downloadable game content and playable demos, as well as high-definition game trailers, music videos and more.
The new 120GB hard drive is also currently available as a stand-alone accessory to give current Xbox 360 console owners the option to simply upgrade their existing 20GB hard drive.
The Xbox 360 Elite will hit Australian shores hot on the heels of a public relations nightmare for Microsoft, which saw failure rates for the Xbox 360 reaching an estimated 33 per cent at the height of the crisis.
However, consumer confidence is said to be slowly returning with the latest batch of Xbox 360’s resulting in no products returns, according to a staff member at a Western Sydney EB Games, who wished to remain annonymous.
“Since the new batch of 360’s arrived we haven’t had a single return, so whatever Microsoft changed seems to have done the job. There seems to be a real interest in the Xbox 360 Elite also, we have already received a lot of pre-orders and it looks like consumers will need to pre-order to secure themselves a console,” he said.
When quizzed about the prospect for Microsoft leading into the holiday season, the employee was highly optimistic.
“There are so many good titles about to be released on the Xbox 360, so it’s looking really good.
“We are already sold out of Halo 3 Legendary edition, and the Limited edition is getting very close to selling out through pre-orders also. It’s going to be a big Christmas for them (Microsoft) I think.”
Halo 3, which has already broken the North American pre-order record of one million units sold, will be offered in three editions, the Standard Edition (RRP $99.95), the Limited Edition (RRP $119.95) and the Legendary Edition (RRP $199.95), from 25 September around the world.
Microsoft is anticipating that Halo 3 will become the most successful entertainment debut of all time, with hopes to make $155 million on launch day and eclipse the current $151 million opening weekend record set recently by the blockbuster movie, Spiderman 3.
“We did $125 million last time with Halo 2,” Microsoft director of marketing, Chris Di Cesare, told Variety.
“We’re confident we can do better.”